Saturday, October 16, 2010


Jack hasn't been napping so well this week. He has trouble falling asleep.

He's great at night. He wakes up 2:30 and 5:30. He nurses quickly and goes back into his co-sleeper crib. I don't even burp him or change him at night -- there's no need. Nights are pretty easy.

It's the falling asleep part that isn't working very well. Jack can fight slumber like nobody's business. I spend about 20-40 minutes getting him down for a nap, and I'm lucky if he'll stay asleep for more than 20 minutes. He rubs his eyes and squirms, he cries and whimpers, he buries his face into my neck and shows every sign of complete exhaustion. Then, with Herculean strength, his eyes pop open, his legs start kicking, and he's cooing into my face again. Sometimes it's charming, but, mostly, through the smiles and coos that I return to him, it's a little maddening. When his "I'm awake, mom!" coos turn into "I feel so awful" screams, everybody loses. It's my job, to get Jack to sleep, and I can't seem to make it happen.

Why won't Jack sleep?

I can only assume that he finds the world far too interesting to turn off. He's always looking and squirming, smiling and kicking. Jack is a strong, interested, and active baby, and it seems that everything -- from the sliver of light in the doorway to the rumble of a truck going past our window -- is fascinating to him. So the minute that little head starts nodding off, those little eyes pop open and the legs start kicking and he does everything he can to stay up amongst the adults.

This whole napping business is causing me a surprising amount of stress. There are always moments in my week during which I feel overwhelmed... however, this is the first time since he was born that I've been consumed by frustration to a point where it interferes with my ability to comfort Jack. He cries or wakes himself up from yet another 5 minute power-snooze, and I... I freak out. I suddenly can't handle it. The internal tension boils violently: I'm a bad mother, I've failed, Jack's awake again, something's wrong, why won't our child sleep? I put him down too soon or too late. I've made him too dependent or I haven't been soothing enough. Zane barked -- because I forgot to give the dog fresh water, damnit, why didn't I remember to fill the bowl? Now Jack's awake again.

It's amazing how consumed I've become by Jack's sleeping problem.

I'm guilty.

Maybe if we hadn't gone to the dog park this morning, maybe he would have had a nap indoors instead of the car. Maybe he'd be less cranky in the evening. Maybe he'd sleep better at night and get more slow wave time, and that'd help his little mind grow, and maybe he'd have a higher IQ and get a better SAT score and have the career of his dreams, and meet his future partner and have a family... and... I'm, I'm... I'm messing it all up. All of it.

Oh, you think I'm joking, but this is how my mind is working this week, filled to the brim with nap-obsession and frazzled enough to write several pages about how my 3 month old doesn't close his eyes for sustained periods of time. Frazzled enough to feel like I suddenly can't take being a mother: let our daycare take care of him, is my secret thought when I get to that point... they'll do a better job, I convince myself. They're professionals. They'll get him to nap, at least. I certainly can't. He wakes up from his nap with a cry, and, well, frazzled is an understatement.

I've been considering what exactly is wrong with me these past few days. Why I'm so short tempered. Why I can't stand to see him cry for even a moment. Why I feel so damn guilty about his trouble with naps this week.

Why I feel so damn guilty this week.

Guilty. This week more than last.

I know why I feel so damn guilty.

I feel guilty because I am sending Jack to daycare on Tuesday, to a place where they're experts in naps but not experts in Jack.

That's why I feel guilty.

There, I said it. At least I can stop feeling guilty about the naps now.

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